40 Gates of Return

Rabbi Amichai’s 40 daily thresholds into a more intentional and inspired new Jewish year

August 12 - September 19

Join me on my 9th annual Prepent journey, reinterpreting repentance for 2018. For the 40 days leading into Yom Kippur, I’ll post a daily mini-reminder for reflection and renewal, along with an inspiring image of thresholds found on my path. 40 days to wrap up the year that was and prepare for the one coming up. 40 days for a better year, a better me, a better you, a better world. One gate of good intentions at a time.

How to join the journey and conversation:

◎ Follow Rabbi Amichai on Instagram or Facebook*

◎ No social media? No problem! You don't need to sign up for anything to follow along. Simply visit www.instagram.com/amichailaulavie to view all the Prepent posts at any time.

*Please note: in order to deliver Prepent in a way that is more sustainable for the entire Lab/Shul Team, this year we are experimenting with not sending the posts via daily emails. Any questions or feedback? Email me at amichai@labshul.org.

Why gates?

My theme this year is inspired by the bestselling 13th century book by the rabble-rousing Catalonian Rabbi Jonah of Gerondi: Gates of Return, or Shaarei Teshuva in Hebrew. Gerondi wrote Gates of Return after witnessing the public burning of the Talmud in France, an event he felt indirectly responsible for. The moralist text went viral, appearing in multiple printed editions since 1505.

Reckoning with his own fantasticism and past wrongs, Gerondi’s medieval list of ways to atone speaks directly to this modern moment of increasing divides. It formulates 20 principles for successful teshuva, or “return”, including how to overcome vice, handle regret, and engage proactively in kindness to others.

Many of Gerondi’s principles still apply to our modern selves, and many I’ll remix with a more contemporary understanding of positive and affirmative principles. Together, they can help us make more meaning of this purpose-driven annual pilgrimage: gate by gate, into the Holy of Holies within.

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